Transcript for 2.04 School Reunion (S02E03) feat. Joy Piedmont
This time Talia and Lucia aren’t alone as they discuss SCHOOL REUNION with special guest Joy Piedmont! We talk all about Sarah Jane and her importance to the series, take a deep dive into the sea of emotions contained in this episode, have a nice little tangent comparing the various modern doctors, and so much more!
You can find joy on twitter @inquiringJoy and her podcasts at @RealityBombPC and @FiveYearsRapid
Listen to the Reality Bomb Podcast: http://www.realitybombpodcast.com/
Listen to Five Years Rapid: https://fiveyearsrapid.libsyn.com/
Lucia Kelly: Hello and welcome to the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast!
Talia Franks: I’m Talia Franks, media critic, fanfic enthusiast, and worth getting your heart broken for.
Lucia Kelly: And I’m Lucia Kelly, expert at applied analysis and big bat person!
Talia Franks: And we’re here today to talk about School Reunion, Episode Five of Series Two of Doctor Who.
Lucia Kelly: School Reunion aired on the 29th of April, 2006. It was written by Toby Whithouse and directed by James Hawes.
Talia Franks: Reminder time isn’t a straight line. It can twist in any shape and as such, this is a fully spoiled podcast. We might bring things in from later in the show, the comics, the books, the audio dramas, or even fan theories and articles.
Lucia Kelly: With that out of the way, The Doctor likes traveling with an entourage. So let’s get in the TARDIS!
Talia Franks: I got to say every time that I say “Series Two of Doctor Who” it sparks joy,
Lucia Kelly: See! Series Two does have things. It does have things that spark joy in it.
Talia Franks: Speaking of Joy.
Lucia Kelly: Oh! What a segue!
Talia Franks: To our first guest on the podcast!
Lucia Kelly: Hi Joy! It’s so nice to have you here. Oh my goodness!
Joy Piedmont: Hello! Thank you for inviting me.
Lucia Kelly: You’re very welcome. Would you like to introduce yourself and what you’re all about and maybe your sort of relationship to Doctor Who and what you might be doing with it?
Joy Piedmont: Sure. So I’m Joy Piedmont. My actual job and life I’m a teacher and in Doctor Who world I’m a podcaster and I organize – actually recently during the pandemic a bunch of us in the Black Girls Create community started organizing these virtual meetups for other fans of color, and those have been really great, and so now I have folded that into my community activity things.
Joy Piedmont: I do things at conventions like Gallifrey One, back in the days when conventions were a thing and stuff like that. So I’m generally a, I don’t know, a talking head person.
Lucia Kelly: Neat.
Joy Piedmont: Oh and I have my own podcasts, I forgot.
Lucia Kelly: I was about to say, can you talk to us about your podcast and what that’s all about? It’s a bit different from ours, I reckon.
Joy Piedmont: I’m the worst at promoting them, by the way, that’s number one. Cause I always forget that that’s a part of the thing that I say about myself. So I have two. The first one that I do is called Reality Bomb. My co-host and co-producer is Graham Burke.
Joy Piedmont: He is from Toronto, and he and I produced like a magazine style show? So there’s lots of different segments, there’s some recurring segments like gallery of the underrated, where a fan comes on to defend like, a very underrated episode. I’ve had Talia on to talk about Revolution of the Daleks?
Joy Piedmont: I can never remember which one is which, but they had written a really great article for Nerdist. And so I wanted to have them on to talk about it. And so it’s generally like that kind of style. And then the other podcast I do is about the Third Doctor era. So it is incredibly niche and incredibly specific and limited because it’s only covering the Third Doctor era of the show.
Joy Piedmont: It’s called Five Years Rapid. My co-host for that is Kyle Anderson and we’re almost done. We actually are in the Sarah Jane era right now. We have one more story to record and then we are moving on to a different thing. We’re going to continue to podcast together, just not in the same kind of format of show at all.
Joy Piedmont: But yeah, it’s weird. Cause it’s been about two years of Third Doctor, which has been great and I love it. Cause I love Classic Who. So.
Talia Franks: Depending on your release schedule and our release schedule, your podcast might already be done by the time we released this.
Joy Piedmont: Oh right! Timey Wimey.
Lucia Kelly: The introduction of Sarah Jane was actually one of the first Classic Who episodes I watched. The one where she’s gets taken back to medieval England?
Joy Piedmont: I love The Time Warrior so much!
Lucia Kelly: It’s so good! Which I also love because, of course, the original Sontaran was an Australian. (Lucia clicks finger guns as Joy and Talia “Ooo”)
Lucia Kelly: So like the – the actor inside the suit, he was Australian, and so that’s always a fun time. But yeah, the part I remember from The Time Warriors, like in my heart and soul, is the moment when Sarah Jane is like –
Lucia Kelly: So she’s just traveled in time. She has no idea what’s happened. And she walks into the castle. And basically has convinced herself that she’s in a like, “Experience what it was really like in Medieval England!” Theme park? And she’s like (Lucia starts to laugh) “This is great, but the smell! You could have done it without that. I don’t think people need an exact recreation.”
Lucia Kelly: And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, what a beautiful, magnificent introduction to one of the best companions of Classic Who.”
Joy Piedmont: It really tells you so much about her. I mean, that, I think is one of the strongest introductions for any companion, in terms of the things that she gets to do and how much you learn about her.
Joy Piedmont: Although I think that School Reunion does a really good job of reintroducing her, because I came to Doctor Who through the modern show. I started watching it in 2012. I was working at a high school and all my students said, “You have to watch the show that we really love. We love it so much.” Cause this has been Matt Smith’s reign was at its height in America.
Joy Piedmont: And I was like, “I don’t know, kids. I don’t have time to watch another show. It – It sounds long,” because there had been six seasons at that point. I was like, “Eh, that’s too much!” So I eventually did watch it and loved it more than they did, overall. So when I saw this story for the first time, I had no context for any of the classic stuff. So anytime there was any little hints dropped of the classic series, it just went right over my head. Like, I kinda knew that she was an old companion, but I didn’t know how significant it was. But it still does a great job of bringing new people in, I think.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s also, I love that. I mean, we’ll get into the whole stupid – like, the fact that both The Doctor and Mickey are like “Ooh, it’s old flames.” And like, “Doesn’t it feel blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Bleugh. But I really liked the fact that …
Lucia Kelly: It seems respectful of Sarah Jane, and her journey, and what she’s gone through – what it meant that she was, surprise, surprise, completely abandoned by The Doctor and just left to fend for herself, and what that did to her, and where she’s going forward, and we won’t cover this in the actual primary show, but then of course she goes on to do Sarah Jane Adventures, which is its whole other thing.
Lucia Kelly: She really steps back into that power and becomes such a important figure in so many people’s lives.
Talia Franks: Yeah. I love the Sarah Jane Adventures so, so much. It’s definitely one of my favorite shows. I have the whole box set but I actually haven’t finished watching all of them? I never watched – so the Sarah Jane Adventures – the last season stopped because Elisabeth Sladen died, and I couldn’t bring myself to watch the last season, because like, I couldn’t, I couldn’t handle her being gone and watching the rest of it. And it was just uh, it was just a lot.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. I remember that day viscerally, when the news broke that she had died, and how emotional that was and how – It reminded me a lot actually of – I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the power of parasocial relationships, and how people who you don’t know can make such a huge impact on your life – and who don’t know you! – Like, the only other person where I felt even close to that – and I was equally blindsided by – by like, how much it affected me, was when Robin Williams died.
Lucia Kelly: And like, I was a mess for that whole day, which made no sense to me because I wasn’t particularly familiar with his work. I enjoyed what he was in, but he was never a favorite, he was never someone I looked out for, and it wasn’t until, you know, it wasn’t until he was gone, that I was like, “Oh wait, he made a huge impact on me and how I saw the world.”
Lucia Kelly: And similarly, with Elizabeth Sladen, who I was much more familiar with and had a much more emotional connection to yeah, I was a mess. (Lucia starts laughing)
Talia Franks: Yeah. For me, I hadn’t been as familiar with her work. At that point, it was very soon after I’d started watching Doctor Who. So I burned through all of Doctor Who up to that point, watched all of Torchwood, watched all of Sarah Jane Adventures that I could, like what I had access to? I wasn’t able to watch that last season yet.
Talia Franks: And then, a few years later, I ended up rewatching Sarah Jane Adventures, but I still have never been able to make myself watch that last season. I’ll watch it eventually.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: It’s sort of that like, last little piece of her that I haven’t wanted to experience yet, because I know it’s going to be the last bit of it.
Lucia Kelly: Hmm. On that somber note … (Lucia starts laughing)
Talia Franks: I – I – Now, I feel like I’m going to cry, but also this episode made me cry twice. No, actually made me cry three times. When The Doctor and Sarah Jane first meet and he sees her for the first time, and realizes what she’s about, that made me start to tear up.
Talia Franks: I was like, “I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry.” And then when she realizes that it’s The Doctor, that’s when I actually started crying. It made me feel feelings. And then when they said goodbye, I cried again.
Lucia Kelly: Which of course, ties a bit into the fact that like David Tennant, a long fan of Doctor Who – like Sarah Jane was one of his companions, right?
Lucia Kelly: This was about heroes meeting heroes, both in and out of fiction, which just tingles my little meta loving heart. And on that note, the episode opens and the very first person we see is Anthony Stewart Head!
Talia Franks: Literally the entire episode I was calling him Giles.
Joy Piedmont: He’s so un-Giles though.
Talia Franks: He’s very un-Giles, but literally I could not remember the characters name.
Joy Piedmont: Mr. Finch!
Talia Franks: I could not remember the characters name. So in all my notes he’s “Giles”. (Talia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: Giles.
Talia Franks: Well it was – It was quicker than writing Anthony Stewart Head!
Lucia Kelly: “Giles is in a real mood today”. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Also, when I heard the music at the beginning and throughout the episode, it felt very Buffy to me.
Lucia Kelly: It did! This episode does feel a bit Buffy, and I wonder if that was on purpose, like as soon as they found out they’d cast Anthony Stewart Head, it’s like. “Okay. Okay, this is our moment. This is our moment to shine.”
Lucia Kelly: I mean, it’s set in the high school. It’s got a very – Doctor Who varies on the spectrum of how alien, how fairytale, how magic the monster of the week is every week. Giant bats is closer to reality than it usually is.
Talia Franks: I usually like to think of Doctor Who, and the way it varies like that, is Doctor Who is several TV shows in one TV show.
Talia Franks: Literally, they took a lot of TV shows – they explore so many different styles and it’s so many different kinds of shows – in one show, even within one season. So the joke I like to make is that it’s bigger on the inside. (Talia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: That’s really cute.
Joy Piedmont: And this is a horror episode and a lot of Toby Woodhouse’s stuff is horror tinge. The next time he writes for the show isn’t until season five, but that’s Vampires of Venice, and God Complex is probably one of the scariest things that the show has ever done. I think Under the Lake, Before the Flood is straight up a ghost story. Like, he really does a lot of scary stuff, I think that’s in his wheelhouse, but the funny thing about the Buffy vibe, Russell T Davies knew he wanted to do a story in a school. So knew that that’s where this story was going to be set.
Joy Piedmont: There was a writer assigned to do the episode and the writer decided “I don’t want to do this in a school. I don’t actually think I can write for the show” and Russell was like, “I think I need a new person to write this episode,” and gave it to Toby Whithouse.
Joy Piedmont: And he was like, “I guess I have to write this episode very quickly.” So it’s interesting, how something was you know, kind of rushed together because of that. And I would guess, I mean I don’t know for sure, I would guess that Anthony Steward Head was probably hired because of his association with school.
Joy Piedmont: Like I think the episode probably already existed in that way and already had a lot of that horror in high school vibe and they were like, “Let’s get Giles.”
Lucia Kelly: Let’s do it.
Talia Franks: I love how he does Saccharin sinister. He’s got a very soft, alluring tone. It doesn’t sound comforting at all.
Joy Piedmont: No, he’s smarmy. He’s like, really slimy and, bleugh, gross.
Talia Franks: He’s very slimy, but it’s Giles, so you want to feel genuinely comforted. (Talia and Joy laugh)
Lucia Kelly: I mean, it’s so interesting because my first introduction to Anthony Stewart Head was actually Merlin.
Lucia Kelly: So my first impression of Anthony Stewart Head was this sour, dour, evil, bitter, old man, (Talia laughs) which – Merlin hadn’t been cast or filmed at this point, but it’s bringing a lot of that energy to this performance. And so when I watched Buffy for the first time, it completely took me out how quickly I got attached to Giles and how much I loved him, because it’s a completely different performance. And of course, Anthony Stewart had a phenomenal and very varied actor. He’s been in remarkable amount of projects. It just so happens that these three are his probably most popular.
Talia Franks: Well, see, the thing is, I’m the complete reverse, I started watching Buffy when I was like 11 or 12. I’ve binge watched the entire series. My mom’s friend gave me all her DVDs. So Giles was my first introduction to Anthony Stewart Head. Then I watched this, which was sort of like a soft introduction to him being slimy. And then I watched all of BBC Merlin, but it was so weird for me to see him like that, that I literally forgot that he was Uther until you just said that. So …
Talia Franks: It was just funny I read a lot of Merlin fans. So Uther shows up a lot, but Anthony Stewart Head is not the person I picture.
Lucia Kelly: Interesting. I love that. Now that we’ve sung the praises of both Elizabeth Sladen and Anthony Stewart Head, I reckon we should actually get into the episode, so we get our introduction to Anthony Stewart Head as Mr. Finch. He acts very suspiciously to a young girl who apparently has no friends or family, invites them into his office, and then we just hard cut to The Doctor, who is the new physics teacher. Yay!
Talia Franks: I just am very disturbed about all the people that they imply that they eat.
Lucia Kelly: Right? Also, surely, I can’t believe that only Sarah Jane is picking up like, “Hmm, all of these young children are disappearing, and they all happened to be employed at this particular school.” Where is child support? What is happening?
Talia Franks: The other thing I had trouble suspending my disbelief was that there was only one child that wasn’t eating the chips.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Talia Franks: I’m allergic to potatoes! I don’t eat French fries.
Joy Piedmont: That seems like an unusual allergy though.
Talia Franks: It’s not. My mom is also allergic to potatoes.
Joy Piedmont: But you’re genetically related. (Lucia, Joy, and Talia all start laughing.)
Joy Piedmont: I’m talking about like –
Lucia Kelly: Someone else!
Joy Piedmont: – Yeah, other people
Talia Franks: there are like an – Okay. But there’s also a lot of people with food allergies.
Joy Piedmont: No, I totally believe that. It’s just funny of all the things to suspend- like, that didn’t even – they’re kids in a school, of course they’re going to eat the chips.
Talia Franks: Yeah, I know. But like, it also occurred to me that the school lunches are compulsory, but there’s plenty of people who are allergic to stuff, and whose parents would have opted them out of the school lunches and made them eat their own food.
Lucia Kelly: I’m sure there are others. It’s just that this sweet boy, this sweet child, is the one that we’re focusing on.
Talia Franks: Yeah, I had trouble suspending my disbelief also that there were only two classrooms?
Joy Piedmont: I think there’s more than that though.
Lucia Kelly: (Crosstalk with Joy) There’s more than – that’s – thats a production issue! Shush! Shush! Shush! They only had access – They only had access to two classrooms.
Joy Piedmont: (Crosstalk with Lucia) Like, they only shot – They only shot in two classrooms. Doesn’t mean there’s only two classrooms.
Talia Franks: But like, where – who was, who was directing all the students to the classrooms if all the teachers were either eating the other teachers or getting eaten?
Joy Piedmont: No. So they say Mr. Finch says they came in, they ate half of the staff, replaced them with all their people by half –
Talia Franks: No! I’m talking about at the end of the episode, but, sorry, we’ll get there.
Joy Piedmont: So it, yeah. I mean, at the end it’s a smaller group of kids? I just assumed it was a smaller school, but I think also if the episode is working on you – which it probably did not – you shouldn’t actually be thinking about those things.
Lucia Kelly: I came from a very, very small primary school. We had, I think a hundred students. So, that was never an issue for me to be like, “No, of course. There’s this small student body and they’re all, they’re all in the one room. Makes sense.” (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: So, we cut to the theme song and then we come right back to the classroom.
Lucia Kelly: And, one of my favorite fan theories is that – So The Doctor does this whole thing.
Talia Franks: We have the same favorite fan theory. I know what you’re going to say.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. So The Doctor does this whole thing where he’s like “Physics, physics, physics, physics, physics, physics,” And I always just assumed he was you know, making a joke, breaking the ice, trying to introduce himself to the new crowd, until I read a fan theory, which has become my favorite thing, which is that he is actually describing in the moment, incredibly complicated and high convolute Timelord physics, and the TARDIS is just censoring him. (Lucia and Talia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: So it sounds like he’s saying “Physics, physics, physics,” And she’s like “No!”
Joy Piedmont: That’s adorable.
Lucia Kelly: “They’re kids. You can’t tell them all that.”
Talia Franks: Yeah. That’s my favorite thing too. The reason that’s my favorite thing is because that is how language works!
Lucia Kelly: So, The Doctor starts quizzing kids and maybe they could have understood Timelord physics cause they seem like they’re all little mini geniuses.
Talia Franks: What interests me is that the one teacher comes by and says, “Milo has failed me,” but what has Milo failed him at?
Joy Piedmont: I think they were trying to get individual kids to do the computing? Because they escalate after that, and they then take it up to, “Let’s just sit them all down in front of the computers and have them do the work at the same time.”
Joy Piedmont: I think they were just trying to use individuals and it wasn’t quite working in the way they thought.
Lucia Kelly: Cause, we find out later on that they’re trying to crack this theorem that will basically make them “gods” like their species’ whole thing is that they’re colonisers!
Lucia Kelly: I’m annoyed by how much I like the way that they work. Like, when Mr. Finch is explaining, like, “You know, we’re colonisers. We absorb culture, we take what we’d like, and we leave devastation in our wake, and we do that with physical aspects as well.” I’m like, that’s a cool concept though. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: I hate how much that makes sense. And I hate how much we can intuitively understand it based on how the real world works. (Lucia mhmms)
Joy Piedmont: It feels like this is a monster that should come back. And it feels like such a Chibnall monster that like, Chibnall would use. And it’s an easy monster to bring back because they’re always going to look different. It’s funny that they haven’t done it.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. It would be really cool to bring them back because it can be like a reveal. Like, (Joy: Yeah) we don’t know what this person, like, we can’t figure it out. And it’s like, “Oh, wait! I’ve dealt with these guys before!”
Joy Piedmont: Yeah, yeah.
Talia Franks: Yeah. And the other thing about them that was striking me was the idea that they’ve changed themselves so much that their own oil is poisonous to them. I really liked that. I really appreciated that. I do like the parallel showing how harmful effects of colonization harm everyone and things will come back to bite you.
Joy Piedmont: Mhmm
Lucia Kelly: Hmmm
Talia Franks: If you turn on yourselves that much. I just thought that was a particularly good twist.
Talia Franks: I feel like Mr. Finch is a little bit in love with The Doctor.
Talia Franks: Like I was definitely picking up some vibes.
Lucia Kelly: I think Mr. Finch is in love what The Doctor can give him. I think The Doctor represents a lot of very attractive features. Not necessarily like –
Talia Franks: I mean, he wants to make The Doctor a god and stand by his side. (Talia and Lucia laugh)
Lucia Kelly: I mean sure, but that’s out of context!
Joy Piedmont: I mean, I took it to be that he needs The Doctor on his side because he knows that the Time Lords are very powerful and he clearly knows a lot about them because he says like “stuffy senators” and blah, blah, blah. Like, so (Lucia bleugh bleugh bleugh) he has their number. But also makes such a point of talking about how much the thing for them is, “Don’t you want to live forever?”
Joy Piedmont: And that’s the thing that he says to Sarah Jane. And so the way that they could do that is if he takes the secret of Time Lord regeneration except he never explicitly says it. And I don’t think that means he doesn’t want to take from the Time Lords. But I think that is what’s underneath there is he wants to steal The Doctor’s DNA.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, and that’s the underlying threat, right? Is that The Doctor is the last of the Time Lords, which is an incredibly attractive proposition for someone like Mr. Finch. Or as we later find out his true name is Brother Lazarus or Brother Lassa.
Talia Franks: Brother Lassa, which actually leads me to another interesting thing. So he calls all of them brothers, which I read either one of two ways. Either, this is how language works and this, (Lucia stifles a laugh and Talia says um while laughing) and this is one of those languages where, when you’re referring to a group of people, masculine is the default, even if the group includes people who are referred to in the feminine because there’s no gender neutrality, which is an annoying feature of languages, but there are some languages where when there’s a mixed group the sum total of the group is referred to in the masculine.
Talia Franks: And the TARDIS decided to just translate everything as masculine which, that is how some languages work. Or, two, all the Krillitanes are actually masculine Krillitanes. And just some of them are women in their human form, which brings up the idea that there are gender nonconforming aliens in this episode.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, I definitely took it as – I guess it’s a bit different. I kind of put it in the same space as the Slitheen of like aliens are genderless blobs and whatever works works. Like, they have no context for gender, in an earth sense, so they’re like, “I like this body, it feels right. I’m taking it.”
Lucia Kelly: And in Slitheens’ case, it’s “I’m just choosing whichever body fits me best literally.” And in the Krillitanes case, it’s “Hmm, I’ve observed these humans for a while now. I’m taking this feature, and that feature, and this feature.”
Talia Franks: Yeah. So basically all these aliens are using masculine terms as the default, because that’s what English and a lot of other languages on Earth tend to do, but, really, most aliens are gender nonconforming. (You can hear Talia smiling and Lucia stifles another laugh)
Talia Franks: I just, you know, me, I’m always trying to bring the queer agenda into everything I do.
Lucia Kelly: Well, absolutely, as you should.
Lucia Kelly: So Rose has been assigned dinner lady. So fun.
Talia Franks: Yeah. Putting the women in the kitchen I see.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. And also, I do love whenever we are reminded of how young Rose is and how she is just a teenager along for the ride. The sass, the discontent, the inability to do her job properly? Peak teenager-dom.
Lucia Kelly: Like the fact that she just goes off and sits down with The Doctor in the middle of her shift. Her supervisor is right; what are you doing? (Talia, Joy, and Lucia laugh)
Lucia Kelly: Anyway, we get introduced to the idea of these chips and and how tasty they are, how addictive they are and that –
Talia Franks: There are other people who are allergic to potatoes, FYI, I’m not alone.
Lucia Kelly: And how all the kids, most of the kids, are eating them and Kenny is not allowed. So we also get introduced to this little dynamic, the little kids dynamic.
Lucia Kelly: So we’ve got the kids group with Kenny and Milo and Melissa. And how excluded Kenny feels about everything.
Joy Piedmont: Poor Kenny.
Lucia Kelly: Poor Kenny. He’s just there with his tupperware lunch. And then and then Mickey. Yay. Mickey’s back.
Joy Piedmont: He’s the guy in the chair.
Lucia Kelly: In the worst way possible.
Joy Piedmont: He’s literally the guy in the chair.
Talia Franks: How, how does Mickey still have access to all of these confidential army documents, materials.
Lucia Kelly: Well he doesn’t, Torchwood is finally taking him in hand.
Joy Piedmont: They locked him out. (Lucia and Joy laugh)
Lucia Kelly: It’s been enough.
Joy Piedmont: And then it says TORCHWOOD in big red letters on the screen, in case you did not understand what was happening. And they’re like, oh, look, here’s the repeating meme of the season, Torchwood. (Lucia mhmms)
Lucia Kelly: So we get some very awkward Rose and Mickey just like, nnngh, like God, just break up. Just break up.
Talia Franks: Just do it.
Lucia Kelly: Just do it. It’s physically painful to watch them together.
Lucia Kelly: And especially because this episode pushes so hard – and also huge discredit to like – I feel like one of the big things that I push against with Tenrose, is it makes – the show makes the case – the show is pushing the narrative that Christopher Eccleston is not sexy? (Joy laughs) But like the reason that Mickey didn’t care that Rose was off traveling with this other man who was apparently cooler than him in every other way is that like, “Well, there’s no chance you’ll fall in love with him because he’s ugly.” And then David Tennant turns up. It’s like, “Oh no!”
Joy Piedmont: I think the show knows that Eccleston is sexy though. (Lucia hmms) I think Mickey doesn’t, but the show (Lucia hmms again) definitely knows.
Lucia Kelly: It just makes me upset. Like, I feel like a lot of – Eccleston gets the short end of the stick in a lot of ways, but I feel like one of the big reasons that is, is that…. David Tennant just has much more of a….
Talia Franks: Magnetism?
Lucia Kelly: Well, he’s got more of a like, passionate fan base that is pushing the fact that he is all of these things, right? (Joy crosstalk: He’s very pretty) Christopher Eccleston doesn’t –
Lucia Kelly: He’s very pretty, he’s very talented, right? This isn’t me disparaging David Tennant, this isn’t me pitching two bad bitches against each other. This is me pointing out (Talia giggles) that Christopher Eccleston is a bad bitch and deserves respect.
Talia Franks: I love them both. And I feel like I love them both equally, but I feel honor bound to defend Christopher Eccleston more because David Tennant already get so much love.
Lucia Kelly: Pretty much. Yeah. But thankfully, their conversation is interrupted by the fact that a dinner lady is now in severe pain and possibly dying.
Talia Franks: Wait no, okay, so my question is if she has like gone up in flames and died or whatever, shouldn’t there only be 12 Krillitanes left?
Lucia Kelly: Maybe she has survived. She’s just in a severe state. Like they’ve locked the nurse’s office because the bed has been taken up by this very severely damaged Krillitane, who’s just kind of moaning softly and sipping apple juice.
Talia Franks: Okay. But then how is she okay enough to attack at the end of it all?
Joy Piedmont: I mean, no disrespect when I say this, so please keep that in mind. I don’t care. (Lucia and Talia both start laughing) Like I, all of these questions that y’all have, I’m like, how, how is this stuff still on your mind after the episode that you see, which is all about Sarah Jane, and it gives you so much character development for The Doctor and Rose and Mickey, like there is so much that actually happens with the characters here, which is actually such a rare thing to get in Doctor Who they hardly ever spend this much time where the characters just sit and talk about their feelings. (Joy is speaking emphatically)
Joy Piedmont: And there’s a little bit of sciency, weird alien stuff going on. How do you still have questions about this stupid garbage? It doesn’t matter.
Joy Piedmont: Like it’s not supposed to matter. (Talia continues to laugh as Joy sounds incredulous) They’re counting on you to be so invested in the reunion of The Doctor and Sarah Jane, that you’re not going to worry about this other stuff.
Joy Piedmont: It’s just the thing that’s happening.
Lucia Kelly: But Joy.
Joy Piedmont: It’s a back drop.
Lucia Kelly: But Joy. If we don’t analyze this at a minute level, how on Earth will we justify the science score at the end? (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: I love the way they did this because of course, like you said earlier, Joy, so many people watching this episode for the first time would not know who Sarah Jane is. Like, they have no context for this. And so what they do is that they have the sort of double reveal. So we get context that The Doctor knows who Sarah Jane is, and is clearly emotional about it, is clearly really moved. So we’re like, “Okay, this is an important person.” And then it’s not until later that it’s revealed that this is an old companion.
Lucia Kelly: And this is where we get into, (Lucia gives a heaving sigh) this is why we get into the whole Rose versus Sarah Jane thing.
Talia Franks: I hate it.
Lucia Kelly: I hate it!
Joy Piedmont: Yeah, it’s a low point.
Lucia Kelly: Why are you pitching two bad bitches against each other? It makes no sense. I don’t believe Sarah Jane would stoop to this either. It doesn’t fit her character at all.
Talia Franks: I believe it of Rose –
Joy Piedmont: It doesn’t.
Talia Franks: But I don’t believe it of Sarah Jane.
Joy Piedmont: It’s a point where the writing is weakest, because they’re clearly going for, we need these two people to be in conflict with each other just a little bit, so that Rose feels a little bit insecure and just jealous enough to question what the nature of her relationship is like with The Doctor, because then you get that beautiful moment between the two of them where he finally says, “Here’s why I don’t talk about these other people.”
Joy Piedmont: And the way that they got there was by having this stupid, weird jealousy between Sarah Jane and Rose. And I think the problem I have with it is not that Rose is jealous. I kind of expect that of her. Especially in season two. We’ve already seen a little bit of immaturity from her and she’s so weird and petulant in Christmas Invasion and like, I don’t know, I can believe it of her. It’s the fact that Sarah Jane is then buying into it and being part of the petty cattiness that feels so inauthentic and so unlike her character that we know, and I feel like a better writer would have written those scenes so that Sarah Jane was not engaging in it.
Lucia Kelly: Hmm. I can totally believe a situation where Rose is trying to be catty. And (Joy hmms) Sarah Jane is just shutting it down every time, and then Rose gets increasingly frustrated by that –
Joy Piedmont: Right,
Lucia Kelly: – because she’s got all of this emotion, and all these feelings, that she’s not able to process or talk about properly.
Lucia Kelly: And then that leads to a much more authentic and much more emotionally realized bonding moment between Sarah and Rose when they finally do settle.
Joy Piedmont: Hmm. That’s a really good point.
Talia Franks: Yeah. I definitely wish that that’s what had happened because I feel like Sarah Jane is so much better than this. Like you said, I expect this of Rose and this is not even my –
Joy Piedmont: Your Rose bashing
Talia Franks: – but it’s not even because of my dislike of her (Joy laughs) it’s because, you know, she is like, well, at this point she’s probably 20 because they’ve been traveling for awhile. But and we don’t know how close to her birthday she was picked up and time doesn’t exist. (Talia laughs while saying um)
Talia Franks: But the point is that she is young, and she’s naturally insecure,, and she’s seeing what happens when The Doctor disappears. And I think that it would have been totally natural for Rose to be reacting this way. It just feels so inauthentic coming from Sarah Jane and I feel like as wonderful as an introduction to Sarah Jane this is generally is, this aspect of it really does her a disservice as an introductory episode. (Lucia and Joy both make noises of agreement)
Joy Piedmont: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. We’ll get to better Sarah Jane. I love Sarah Jane in Journey’s End, which unfortunately I think is the only other time we see her from memory. But yeah, this one it’s real hit and miss in terms of representation of Sarah.
Lucia Kelly: And then, they all decide to break into the school, they meet up.
Joy Piedmont: Can I point out a really funny moment In this little part of episode where Mickey is now with them?
Lucia Kelly: Yep.
Joy Piedmont: And The Doctor says says to them like, “Team! Oh wait, I don’t like calling you a team, gang?” And I was like, oh my God, did Chris Chibnall steal this? Cause then third thing, the third thing that The Doctor says is comrade? Like he doesn’t know quite what to call them all. And so his thing is team gang comrades. And I was like, oh, Chris, Chibnall totally stole this –
Talia Franks: yeah, I was thinking that too.
Joy Piedmont: Team, gang, fam is so close.
Talia Franks: Yeah. That’s exactly what I was thinking. You know, I was like, that’s what Thirteen says! But the difference here is (Joy laughs) Thirteen sticks with it.
Talia Franks: I also thought there’s a really interesting parallel between Nine to Ten’s transition and Twelve to Thirteen’s transition for me. (Joy hmms) And it’s hard for me to always put my finger on why those transitions feel so similar to me. Cause like you would think , cause it is a showrunner change for Twelve to Thirteen.
Talia Franks: Whereas for Nine to Ten, it wasn’t a showrunner change. That was Ten to Eleven, but I feel like Ten to Eleven change felt so almost seamless for me because Ten and Eleven feel like such similar Doctors. But even though it was the start of a new era, a new doctor, or whatever, they felt so similar in character that even though the companion changed, even though the arcs changed, The Doctor still felt like at their core -I mean always The Doctor’s the same person at their core – but at their surface, The Doctor felt so similar, whereas Nine to Ten is such a big shift. But then with Eleven to Twelve, that was also a really big character shift, but because of the anchor of Clara, because of the anchor of it being the same show runner and having similar themes, Eleven to Twelve’s transition also felt very smooth to me.
Talia Franks: But Nine to Ten feels like a very sharp shift. Cause even with Rose smoothing the way, Rose with Nine feels so different from Rose with Ten, and Martha and Donna are just such different companions than Rose that it just … Yeah. So there’s just the sharpness of this transition. (Joy mhmms) Just feels very similar.
Talia Franks: And Joy, I’d like, this is something I would have brought up before, but Lucia hasn’t seen any of the recent episodes which is um –
Joy Piedmont: What!?
Talia Franks: Lucia—
Lucia Kelly: Yeah no. I – I dropped out halfway through Matt Smith.
Joy Piedmont: I’m glad I did not reveal any spoilers?
Lucia Kelly: I’m totally cool with spoilers. I’m totally fine with spoilers.
Joy Piedmont: Like some major stuff happens. I feel like –
Lucia Kelly: This is just the nature of the show.
Talia Franks: This is a spoiler heavy podcast and I spoil Lucia all the time.
Joy Piedmont: I feel like, this is a big shift in the way I’m thinking about spoilers now. Cause I’m like, wait, but does this count as a spoiler, even though this is a spoiler-y podcast,
Lucia Kelly: I honestly – don’t –
Joy Piedmont: I just want you to discover certain things.
Lucia Kelly: Don’t feel in any way restricted. I don’t mind.
Talia Franks: But back to my original point, do you agree with me that Nine to Ten transition parallels twelve to Thirteen?
Joy Piedmont: Yeah. It’s I think it’s similar, and you know, Thirteen, when she debuted, most people noted that her Doctor had a very similar energy to David’s in terms of the optimism and kind of like the bright sunniness, the difference though, the big difference is that she hasn’t had any of the broodiness like, like the emo Doctor meme, which, I mean, that is David Tennant, Jodie hasn’t had any of that until this most recent season in the last few episodes. And I’m so happy that she’s finally getting that because I think it makes for a richer portrait of The Doctor. But yeah, it’s, interesting that, you know, you go from the kind of like dark, tortured Doctor, you know, in Nine and Twelve, and then you get this brighter, sunnier disposition that in some ways is even more moody than the previous incarnation. And I’m glad we’re getting a little bit more of that from Jodie now.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. We’ve talked about how. Ten is made of emotion. Like he’s just all emotions all the time. Like Ten is at Ten all the time.
Joy Piedmont: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: And so whether he’s feeling joy, whether he’s feeling excitement, whether he’s feeling fear, whether he’s feeling anger, it’s always at a hundred percent all the time, whereas Nine is a lot more reserved.
Lucia Kelly: Which makes Eleven really interesting because Eleven is kind of a mix of both in that Eleven puts on this sort of joyful front a lot of the time, he’s very childlike and joyful in the mask that he presents but that hides a real darkness that does not have time to shine very often.
Lucia Kelly: Like dark Eleven is who I love, but that’s when the mask drops and that’s when you sort of see his history and see his real power.
Talia Franks: Yeah. That’s also really interesting when you think about Twelve, because he definitely has a very firm hard exterior where it feels on the surface he doesn’t show as much emotion, but inside there’s this really intense, deep well of emotion that is just fierce in how overwhelmingly powerful it is. In particular, his relationship with Clara and the depths that they go to for each other is terrifying. Like their friendship is honestly, one of my favorite parts of the show is how much they care for each other to dangerous ends.
Talia Franks: And the lengths that they will go is outrageous. And I hate how much I love it because it’s so ridiculous. But also the way that he can also be so like gentle, which I think is a lot of how he acts in his relationship with Bill.
Talia Franks: I just, I love Twelve so much. He has such a hard exterior, but it’s really just to protect so much softness inside. And one of the things he says is that he doesn’t like hugs and he says, it’s because you can never trust a hug. It’s just a way to hide your face. And it’s just – I just love Twelve so much.
Talia Franks: I have so many Twelve emotions,
Lucia Kelly: I can’t wait to get to them. (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: So they’re all in the school. They all meet up. Mickey finds some rats and the Doctor makes this disparaging, teasing comment about it.
Lucia Kelly: All of the little things – the inbuilt misogyny between Sarah and Rose, the clearly disparaging, feminizing comment that The Doctor makes against Mickey, and then later the fatphobia in the cafe is all just –
Joy Piedmont: Not great.
Lucia Kelly: Nasty.
Talia Franks: I hate it. Hate it all. Back again about the potatoes thing, Kenny not being able to eat the potatoes. It’s implied that he’s not able to eat the food because he’s on some sort of special diet.
Joy Piedmont: Yeah.
Talia Franks: And that also feels like fatphobia to me. And you could have just said that he had a food allergy.
Lucia Kelly: Hmmm. Yeah. The character of Kenny, bothers me a little bit just in terms of like, you know, he’s a bigger kid, clearly doesn’t fit in with the crowd. There’s this, like, I’m not sure if this is just my heteronormative gaze or whether this is actually written into the show, but there seems to be a little thing between him and Melissa and like clearly something that could not be pursued because of who he is and how he’s perceived as a person.
Lucia Kelly: And all of this stuff, it’s feeding into that classic, like, “Oh, are you fat, and have glasses, and maybe have curly hair? You are a nerd and not worth it as a person.” I’m like, (Lucia makes a giant noise of frustration) stop that.
Talia Franks: Yeah. Also. Mickey says “Surveillance. If you ask me, it’s just another way of saying, go sit in the back of the class with the safety sisters and glitter.” I would love to be in the back of the class with safety scissors and glitter.
Joy Piedmont: I so want to know, like, God, what kind of education are children getting in England? (Joy laughs) Where that’s the thing that they do for kid— like, that sounds terrible. I don’t know. It was pretty bleak.
Talia Franks: No, I would love to be sitting in the back of the class with glitter and, you know, I mean, I would need safety scissors. I would probably hurt myself otherwise.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, yeah, no it’s (Lucia sighs) so Mickey’s got this chip on his shoulder because he doesn’t believe that The Doctor sees him as a fully fledged person and that Rose doesn’t see him as a fully fledged person, and to be honest, he’s right, but – (Lucia starts laughing)
Talia Franks: He’s right.
Joy Piedmont: A hundred percent.
Lucia Kelly: So he and Sarah kind of bond over that.
Lucia Kelly: So Sarah and Rose has been at each other’s throats this whole time. It’s all very unsavory. And then finally Rose confronts him about it. And is like, “Yo, what the fuck? Are you going to just abandon me? Like you abandoned this other girl?”
Talia Franks: That actually really cut me because he says, “Does it matter.” and she says “It does, if I’m the last in a long line.” And then he says, “As opposed to what?” And I was like, “Woooooooow”.
Joy Piedmont: It’s a cold reaction, right?
Talia Franks: Very cold.
Joy Piedmont: Like, Ooh! That was mean!
Lucia Kelly: And this is like – So, we’ve had fun with Ten, right? Like we’ve had the Christmas Invasion, we’ve had New Earth, we’ve had Tooth and Claw, right? But in all of those episodes, we’ve seen the happy side of Ten. We’ve seen the joyful side of Ten. We’ve seen the like, the looking for the happiness, looking for the joy in the world. Looking at the world in awe, right? Even in Tooth and Claw, there’s that iconic moment where the werewolf is tearing out of the cage and The Doctor’s just looking at it like, “Oh, that’s beautiful!” right? Like, he’s so overwhelmed in the moment that he doesn’t register the extreme danger that they’re in? (Lucia laughs) And this is the first time we really see – it’s not the first time we’ve seen dark Ten, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen rude Ten either. There’s been this ongoing thread throughout the whole thing of like, “Oh, I’m rude now, Ooh, this is a new flavor for me.”
Lucia Kelly: But this is the first time we’ve seen The Doctor, either Nine or Ten, be specifically and deliberately cruel to Rose, which is a really interesting development. This is the first explicit sign of just how toxic this relationship actually is at it’s core.
Joy Piedmont: Hmmm. Well, he’s under so much stress, because he had to have that whole conversation with Sarah Jane, where she’s like, “Why didn’t you come back for me?” And she’s making him feel really bad, as she should because – have either of you seen her last story with The Doctor, her last adventure, I mean spoilers for like 40 year old show, but the adventure ends and he gets an urgent call from Gallifrey and he’s like, “Oh, I gotta go there.”
Joy Piedmont: And he’s making preparations to go, and she’s like, ‘Oh, this is going to be so interesting. I get to see Gallifrey,” and he’s like, “You can’t come.” And he’s like, “You’re not – Humans aren’t allowed on Gallifrey,” and he’s like, “I’ll just drop you home.” And she was like, “Whoa, what?” And then, so –
Joy Piedmont: It’s kind of played off as like super casual. It’s very strange as a companion leaving story because there’s no sense of, “This is the last time you will see this character.” And he drops her off in Aberdeen, he thinks it’s Croydon. He messes it up because of course he does. And her reaction at the end of that story is like, “Oh, Doctor, I’m in the wrong place.”
Joy Piedmont: And it’s really casual and very strange. And what I love is that this episode retcons that by showing like, no, she was really angry about it. And also she did not know how to kind of like, go on with her emotional life. Like, obviously she’s still a journalist, but like, she hasn’t really had any relationship with any other person, cause she’s still pining over The Doctor. Which is sad. I really feel for her. So she’s been pushing him, and at this point, when Rose now starts pushing him, he’s like, “These humans. They want so much of me.” And so I think that also drives the cruelty where he’s just like, “What do you want from me?”
Joy Piedmont: and so then he reveals this deep source of pain for him where he has to say, “You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can’t spend it with you.” And he’s like, “I’m going to keep going and you’re going to die.” And it’s such a lovely tie in, at the end, when Sarah Jane is the one to say to him, “Everything ends, everything has its time,” which is also kind of her way of saying, “Listen, I get it.It’s okay.” Like “Our time had to end.” Which is why I really love this episode so much, cause it’s this beautiful little closure for a character who really didn’t get a good leaving story. I mean, she comes back in Five Doctors, but that’s all crazy nonsense, which I feel like it, where it fits into continuity is like, trying to figure that out, it’s not even worth it.
Joy Piedmont: So if you think about where she left off and the last time we see her and the relationship that she had with The Doctor and that Classic era, it basically treats her like a modern companion, which I just love so much.
Lucia Kelly: Do you know any of the behind the scenes stuff? Do you know why that was such an abrupt change or difference?
Joy Piedmont: I think they just wrote it badly. So one of the problems with Sarah Jane is that she’s fabulous with the Third Doctor. She comes in like, Gangbusters. I mean, you saw it in The Time Warrior, right? Like, she’s a journalist, she asks questions, she’s super logical, she’s fearless, and she can figure things out on her own.
Joy Piedmont: So the idea of her being in this situation already investigating? Totally a Sarah Jane story already, clearly this is something she’d be doing. When she gets with the Fourth Doctor, her first season Harry Sullivan is also traveling with them and Harry is a little bit of a misogynist and so they play off each other. Once Harry’s gone, they devolve Sarah Jane more and more and more until she has more and more childlike, like a lot closer to Rose in terms of the characterization, a lot more immature, a lot more helpless, not as interesting in terms of the things that she can do or does in the episode.
Joy Piedmont: And I don’t know offhand enough of what may have happened in terms of the change of writers at that time, but once Lila comes in, who’s the next companion, it goes into it’s horror phase, like it’s deep horror phase. And, so I don’t know if – if – if it was part of that, but I think it was just her time and they had stopped writing her well a long time before that.
Lucia Kelly: Mm. Very interesting ….
Lucia Kelly: So, so yeah, this is where the energy kind of ramps up. Mr. Finch is over hearing. So he finds out that The Doctor is a Time Lord. They decide to amp up the plan. They’re going to break this paradigm and all the crew is together again and trying to figure this out together.
Lucia Kelly: We’ve got The Doctor, Sarah, Rose, Mickey, K9 makes an appearance, and then Kenny also joins the crew.
Lucia Kelly: So we’ve got a whole gang.
Talia Franks: I really loved that whole, “we are in a car” scene.
Lucia Kelly: I love that K9 doesn’t make it easy for Mickey. It’s like, “No, you do the work. I’ve worked it out. Do it for yourself.”
Talia Franks: Okay. Okay. Speaking of K9. Just that line at the end where Sarah Jane says “He replaced you with a whole new model. He does that.”
Joy Piedmont: Oof.
Joy Piedmont: Urgh.
Lucia Kelly: Eurgh.
Joy Piedmont: Twist the knife.
Lucia Kelly: But yes, Joy, you were going to say something?
Joy Piedmont: Oh, I was just going to say the K9, just repeating the, the instruction. “We were in a car” just reminded me. I have a friend who, when I used to play Pictionary with him if you, he would draw a picture and be done, and then you start guessing he never tried to amend his picture. If you guessed wrong, he just kept pointing at it.
Joy Piedmont: And that is what I think of when K9s, like” we are in a car,” “we are in a car.” That’s Ross pointing at his picture, not changing his instruction. Thank God Mickey gets there in the end and it’s totally fine. Destroying school property. And just like, you know,
Lucia Kelly: I know, I know, who’s picking up the bill for that? I wonder not The Doctor, and not Mickey
Joy Piedmont: and that’s not his car! It’s not his car.
Talia Franks: Well, I mean, Sarah Jane does get a new car in the Sarah Jane Adventures
Joy Piedmont: and it wasn’t really this true. Maybe make it help pay for it, or
Lucia Kelly: Wait, no, that’s Micky’s car, Micky has a yellow Badal
Talia Franks: Oh, yeah. Wait no, I thought Sarah Janes’ car was, was green though. Maybe he gave it a paint
Joy Piedmont: He definitely had to help her out because he must’ve felt guilty about like crashing the car into the school (laugh). Which not cool.
Lucia Kelly: It was a nice car too. It was a nice little sensible like master kind of deal.
Joy Piedmont: And I’m like, like a little hatchback situation (laughter).
Joy Piedmont: I, okay.
Talia Franks: So. I just wanted to say one one more thing before I think we should probably go into our favorite and least favorite moments is the idea of the God maker again is making David Tennant a God, David Tennant’s God complex. No, not David Tennant, but Ten.
Lucia Kelly: How dare, how dare you accuse this Presbyterian sweater dad of having a God complex (laughter)
Talia Franks: Why did you call him a Presbyterian sweater dad?
Lucia Kelly: Because I, that is, it is because for a really long time, I followed a tumblr that was about David Tennant and that was David’s name. And so now that’s why it’s stuck in my head.
Talia Franks: Oh my God. Okay. Well, point Ten, not David Tennant. I think it’s because Tennant has the word Ten in it (Lucia: mhmm Joy: Yeah) get it? “Ten in it.” Anyway. So anyway, so Ten has a God complex, so does Eleven, but especially Ten.
Talia Franks: And I think this is like very much as we said, we’re just trying to explore and keep track of all the times where people are trying to make Ten into a God. He keeps them. And I think it’s just really really fascinating to see, see it pop up here again. And Mr. Finch is definitely at least in love with The Doctor’s brain because he has that line later where he says, “Eat him if you must, but bring me his brain”.
Joy Piedmont: Eww, that’s gross. Ugh. That’s so interesting.
Joy Piedmont: I hadn’t, I mean, I hadn’t thought about earlier moments in the series as dealing with The Doctor as God or God, like, because it gets so prominent in series three and four, you know? Cause it’s, so it’s such a thing with the Tenth doctor. Right. But but yeah, you’re right. It does start early and I, it, it is a huge part of this story too.
Joy Piedmont: Russell’s just obsessed with it.
Talia Franks: Yeah. It starts, we talked about this in New Earth too her. The Doctor says when they’re all quarantined in the hospital, he says, if you’re looking for a higher authority, you won’t find one, it stops with me..
Lucia Kelly: (laughter) Yeah. And he’s literally referred to as a lonely God, like there’s this whole prophecy about like the lonely God will come and see the face of bear.
Lucia Kelly: So yeah, they start early and it’s nice to know that at least this early stage The Doctor is very much against that. Like it’s very much pushing against being put in that box is like, no, that’s not right.
Joy Piedmont: He got seduced by it though. Right? Like there’s that moment where he’s like, I could save them all
Talia Franks: (Umm) And who pulls him back, (yeah) which is important that it’s Sarah Jane who pulls him back and not Rose.
Joy Piedmont: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Well, I don’t think Rose would have had any authority to do it. Like I don’t think we would have believed it narratively well, it carries so much more (ok) emotional weight coming from Sarah Jane, because she is the one who actually lives the experience and doesn’t have a choice, like.
Lucia Kelly: So much of Ten’s God complex journey is about him refusing to acknowledge and process trauma. (umm) And he can do that because he’s got a time machine, right. Like he doesn’t have to. Right. And so a lot of, particularly the end of Ten is just about him avoiding processing. (laughing) It’s just about like jumping from one thing to the next.
Lucia Kelly: Right. And not stopping and not thinking and not feeling which as we’ve established is caught in his character. So he’s shutting off a major part of his own being in order to just survive day to day. (Right) Yeah.
Talia Franks: It reminds me of Eleven and how, when he’s trying to avoid his like fixed point of death or whatever he is talking like, he goes on that whole rant where he’s talking.
Talia Franks: I think at that point it’s Dorian’s head who said something about how, like you can’t run forever doctor, like something about time. (Um) I think this is like time catches up to us all or something like that. And then The Doctor says it has never laid a finger on me.
Talia Franks: And then he makes a phone call because he’s trying to call the Brigadier to like have a drink with him. And the Brigadier is dead because it’s another one of his classic companions who has died and who The Doctor can no longer visit, even though he has a time machine. Cause you know, once he’s learned that he’s dead, he it’s at that point, it’s fixed.
Talia Franks: And so it’s just, it’s interesting to see how throughout it’s The Doctor’s companions that he’s known the longest but really known with like such depth that they’ve truly gotten to know him. And I mean, like obviously the Brigadier wasn’t like in this instance actively doing anything to pull The Doctor back, but it’s just interesting to see how companions are, used (um huh) real The Doctor in
Joy Piedmont: yeah.
Joy Piedmont: I like this idea of The Doctor running and how that ties into the way that he goes through companions. And it’s a little bit of a joke in this episode, but it’s also serious because it is very sad that he’s had so many people in his life. And I think this is definitely the first moment in the show for me, especially cause you know, when I was watching it the first time I had only ever seen Rose.
Joy Piedmont: Right. And she’s still the first companion that I know of. And I didn’t have the context for how many people he had traveled with prior to this. And it’s the first time you understand he can live forever, theoretically in terms of regeneration. Like he could just go on and on and he doesn’t like endings.
Joy Piedmont: And so he’ll just keep going and he can’t look back. So he can’t go and visit the break once he knows that he’s dead because it’s too painful. And he’s always trying to avoid those feelings and emotions. And doesn’t like, this is why the thing that you were saying about Clara and Twelve is so difficult for them because The Doctor really doesn’t like to get that close with people it’s too much.
Joy Piedmont: Which I think is a little bit of a problem in the Moffat Era. But anyway so I like that this episode really lays out this is The Doctor’s main problem. He. Cannot save all of his friends from dying naturally, right? Like just, he cannot extend their lives. They live short lives and he will be alone forever.
Joy Piedmont: And here’s this like bat dude saying, I have a thing that I can make for you. We could make it together and everybody can live forever. You can go save your timeline. And the only reason he then realizes that’s the wrong thing is because it has to be Lucia, like you were saying, it has to be a companion who was with him previously.
Joy Piedmont: Right, and has been left to say, it’s okay. Like everything ends and that’s how it should be. Rose isn’t mature enough to have that context. She was just saying “Wait, are you going to leave me?” Is this going to act like she was so freaked out? Right. So it’s not going to be her. It’s going to be the person who understands, like I’m human.
Joy Piedmont: My time with The Doctor will be short. And companions just don’t know that when they’re still in it, you know, they think it’ll go on forever.
Lucia Kelly: Oh my gosh. That’s just reminded me of Donna and just, oh God. (Ugh) Don’t want to talk about it.
Talia Franks: Let’s talk about our favorite moments from the show.
Lucia Kelly: Joy our guest, would you like to go first?
Joy Piedmont: Favorite moment. Well, we’ve talked about it a lot, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s my favorite moment. I love when The Doctor says “You know, you can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can’t spend the rest of mine with you”. I hate the way that Rose has been in this episode, but I love that we get this moment out of it.
Joy Piedmont: And that you’re finally getting a little bit of realness from him. You know, he’s just been pushed and pushed and pushed. And finally, you know, you get to see, this is really hard for him. Like this is not a good life. It seems all like fun and games. And, you know, they run around and through space and time, but it kind of sucks for him and he’s very lonely and oh, it just hits me.
Joy Piedmont: I mean, I guess a runner up moment would be like the cute little you’ve redecorated moment in the TARDIS Sarah Jane always loved one of those. Mm
Lucia Kelly: Hmm.
Talia Franks: I would say my favorite moment also has to do with Sarah Jane It’s sarah Jane’s goodbye scene makes me cry every time,
Talia Franks: (Mm) especially because The Doctor says, “Oh, it’s not goodbye”. And then she insists that he say it in a proper goodbye. I’m getting choked up, just talking about it. So get to stop.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, no. And especially because I’ve never had that context, joy that you’ve given us of what their last goodbye was like, that feels so much more significant. Now that Sarah is sort of keeping The Doctor in line and keeping him accountable and being like you have a responsibility to the people that you travel with.
Lucia Kelly: (Mm) Say goodbye to me is (Aww) I’m getting emotional
Joy Piedmont: By the way, continuity problem in the next episode it’s like none of this ever happened, because he just is totally willing to leave Mickey and Rose behind on that ship. It is because it was not filmed in the same block they filmed, like, it was not meant to go in this order.
Joy Piedmont: I just need to point that out because it bothers me every time that we get this beautiful episode and this like moment of like clarity for The Doctor. And then the very next episode, he does the different thing. He does the opposite (laughter) of what he just learned. It’s very frustrating.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. The Girl in the Fireplace. I used to love that episode. We will bring it up later when we actually discuss that episode, what they do to Madame du Pompadour … Moffat!!
Talia Franks: (laughter) Before we get off on that tangent, I do just want to say again, my favorite moment is like when he does like say the goodbye, she forces him to say the goodbye and he says, my Sarah Jane,
Lucia Kelly: (Um) I just,
Joy Piedmont: I have a lot of feelings.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Joy Piedmont: That’s a good moment.
Lucia Kelly: And I’m going to go with when Sarah stops him. That moment is so and like Elizabeth Sladen, man she’s so good. And especially the dynamic, because of course, Sarah had Three who was much older than her, or looked much older than her and was much older.
Lucia Kelly: And now we’ve got Sarah Jane and Ten who looks much younger, but is still older. And I feel like all of their dynamic is concentrated into that one moment where she steps in front of him and brings him back to earth with that sort of OG Sarah-ness, right? Like, her argument is logical, but it’s also based in emotion. And that’s what makes it work. Is that she’s like, “This is how time works. This is how life works. This is how everything in the universe works. You cannot be a God,”
Joy Piedmont: Right.
Lucia Kelly: “It would be a corruption of you. You would become a God and you would be worse for it. And it’s time to let things end,” and it’s – the way that she delivers the line, the way that the music swells and the lighting is gorgeous and it’s just (Lucia kisses the air) chef’s kiss.
Talia Franks: That line has honestly gotten me through some of the darkest points in my life. It means a lot to me. And I think is the epitome of why this show matters to me so much because like, yes, it has gross aspects to it and things that could be better, but at its core, I feel like the emotions to this show are so good, and so fundamental in how they have helped shape how I see the world, and how I think about things and also how I feel about things and have just given me context to feel my emotions through television in a way that a lot of other… I mean, I feel like that’s the power of media, you know? Is that it can really, it can make people feel things and it can help people through their feelings and Doctor Who is definitely done that for me.
Joy Piedmont: That’s beautiful.
Lucia Kelly: On that note, what moment did you hate the least, Talia? (Lucia laughs) Hate the most! Rather.
Talia Franks: What moment did I hate the most? Probably, I would say probably Mr. Finch eating that little girl at the beginning of the episode.
Joy Piedmont: (Joy laughs) It’s not – It’s not funny, but it’s funny.
Talia Franks: It’s just – I mean, yeah, it’s not funny, but I understand why you laugh. It’s just – it’s so creepy. And it’s like, Doctor Who is children’s show, but from jump, they have this little orphan girl eaten by the headmaster? (Joy mhmms)
Lucia Kelly: it’s super dark. Every now and then Doctor Who gets like, real dark and you’re like, “Wait, hang on. Did that really just happen?”
Talia Franks: Like, I get the children’s shows can be dark, and I’m not saying that children shouldn’t ever be exposed to dark realities in our world, but like, I watched this when I was relatively older, but I feel like it would also freak me out as a kid, the idea of my principal eating me.
Joy Piedmont: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: I wonder how many kids went to school the next day and were just like “…”
Joy Piedmont: “I’m sick.” “I wanna stay home.” (Lucia laughs) It is a really weird, rare thing though, for Doctor Who, I have a friend who, anytime there are children in an episode, if he sees that in a preview he’s automatically grumpy, because he firmly believes that – and this is largely true – when children are involved, they’re never actually in peril.
Joy Piedmont: And this is an episode where immediately, the first kid you see, gone, and it really almost never happens. The only other time I can think of is Thin Ice with poor little Spider. Like –
Talia Franks: Oh my goodness! Spider! And the – and that hat!
Joy Piedmont: Poor little Spider! The little hat’s gone! It really almost never happens. I think those might be the only two times that happens in at least the modern show. There really weren’t a ton of kids in Classic.
Talia Franks: Yeah, I can’t think of any other kids who get murked in the new show.
Joy Piedmont: So what’s the –
Lucia Kelly: The only other two I remember, and these might not count because they’re technically figments of Donna’s imagination, but the library episode, and only because Catherine Tate fucking floors me with that performance every time I watch it, but like –
Joy Piedmont: But they’re just gone.
Lucia Kelly: They’re gone, but like –
Joy Piedmont: This kid got eaten. (Joy, Lucia, and Talia all laugh)
Talia Franks: Also, the scene where he like has a toothpick after they eat? (Lucia mhmms enthusiastically)
Joy Piedmont: It’s gross. It’s so gross. It is – (Joy dissolves into giggles)
Talia Franks: No, the reason it’s bad for me is just because he insists on having the human form instead of the bat form and that just reeks of cannibalism. (Lucia mmms)
Joy Piedmont: Yeah. It’s gross.
Talia Franks: Pretty gross.
Lucia Kelly: What was your least favorite moment?
Joy Piedmont: All of, I mean, it is not a moment. All of the fighting between Rose and Sarah Jane, but the specific moment that I hate is when they’re trying to one up each other with the monsters, number one, because it is pointless and very petty, like, who gives a shit which monsters you’ve fought? And number two, it’s a kind of cutesy way to like, put in little references to different classic stories, especially the things that Sarah Jane talks about.
Joy Piedmont: Like, when she says mummies – Pyramid of Mars is a fan favorite. She talks about Loch Ness monster, Terror of the Zygons, also a fan favorite. And I’m just like, okay, I get it.
Talia Franks: It’s like name-dropping.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Joy Piedmont: It – It is. It’s a little bit like name-dropping, and so the fact that it’s kind of obvious fan service in the middle of this scene that I don’t even want to be happening cause they’re arguing? Ugh. I just don’t care for it.
Lucia Kelly: That’s also my least favorite moment. But especially because that’s how it gets resolved? Like –
Joy Piedmont: Right! Right!
Lucia Kelly: – suddenly they don’t have an argue – like it’s so cheap to do it that way. Their whole storyline just reeks of not thinking about women complexly, but that scene in particular is the epitome of it. And especially because then that turns into them making fun of The Doctor together, right? Like it’s not actually better. (Joy sarts laughing) They’re just not fighting with each other anymore. (Lucia, Talia, and Joy all laugh)
Talia Franks: Are we going to talk about the Hero and the Adam? Cause I know who I picked.
Joy Piedmont: Please go first. Cause now I’m curious.
Talia Franks: For the Hero, I picked K9. Uh …
Joy Piedmont: Yes.
Talia Franks: Because you know, sacrificing himself.
Talia Franks: For the Adam, (Talia sighs) so I said I know who I picked. I know who I want to be The Adam, I’m struggling to figure out how I can justify it. So I’m willing to settle for a secondary Adam, if you don’t agree with my choice, but I would like to make The Doctor the Adam. (Lucia hmms in interest)
Joy Piedmont: I knew you were going to say this.
Lucia Kelly: I
Joy Piedmont: had a feeling.
Lucia Kelly: I was tossing up between whether it was going to be The Doctor or Rose. I was like –
Talia Franks: Rose is my secondary. I think The Doctor should be the Adam. (Joy mhmms in agreement)
Lucia Kelly: I mean, I see it, but he’s also not the one who’s controlling kids. And then eating them. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Villain does not mean Adam. You don’t have to be the villain to be the Adam.
Lucia Kelly: I know, I know the category is “the Worst” is The Doctor the worst?
Joy Piedmont: (Joy giggles) A lot of thinking going on.
Lucia Kelly: Do you know what?
Lucia Kelly: Because last time, in Father’s Day, what ended up happening is we nominated the Rose Nine dynamic as the Adam, was the worst – (Lucia and Talia laugh)
Joy Piedmont: Oh no, Jackie’s the worst in that.
Lucia Kelly: The Rose Nine – Noooooooo.
Talia Franks: Who is the worst in Father’s Day?
Joy Piedmont: I mean, just off the top of my head, Jackie, because she’s so combative and (Joy sighs) I understand what she’s doing narratively, but sometimes I just get very frustrated with characters who are stopping our main characters from doing things, because she’s like, “What’s that? So what’s that? Who is this person?” I’m like, “Please just go away.”
Lucia Kelly: Oh, no. We’re big Jackie apologists on this ep – on this podcast.
Joy Piedmont: I like her generally! Anyway.
Lucia Kelly: But no. So what ended up happening is we ended up nominating the Nine Rose dynamic as the Adam, as the worst. (Joy mhmms) I’m contemplating, whether we do the same here and we nominate the Sarah Jane Rose dynamic, as the worst.
Talia Franks: No, I don’t want to do that. I want to nominate The Doctor Companion dynamic as the worst.
Joy Piedmont: This Doctor Companion dynamic though.
Talia Franks: Like, specifically the Tenth Doctor Companion dynamic as the worst.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah.
Joy Piedmont: Okay.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. I’m good with that. They all need to go to group therapy.
Joy Piedmont: They do.
Lucia Kelly: So badly.
Talia Franks: Is there a therapist that could handle The Doctor? (Joy and Lucia hmm in contemplation)
Lucia Kelly: I’m sure there is. You know what – This would never happen because it’s a crossover with the show that ended 20 years ago. But um …
Lucia Kelly: So, we’ve brought up Buffy in this episode. My mum and I have been re-watching Buffy from the beginning and including in that, we’re also watching the spinoff, Angel, where you follow – Angel goes to LA and he starts a detective agency with Cordelia and Wesley and it’s delightful, um ….
Lucia Kelly: But one of the main side characters in Angel is this character called Lorne, who’s delightful, and Lorne is a demon, he’s got full green makeup, little red horns, and he is the owner of a karaoke bar, a demon karaoke bar, and his like, skill, as a demon, is that if he hears you sing, he can see into the deepest parts of you.
Lucia Kelly: And so it’s sort of a karaoke bar slash therapy session. And every now and then they just go to Lorne’s and sing a bit, get a little therapy and – and like –
Joy Piedmont: I dig it.
Lucia Kelly: – And it’s the best. He’s the best character. It’s so good. And I’m like, “You know what? The Doctor and Rose need to go to Lorne’s bar and just have a little sing-a-long and Lorne can sort them out. It’d be so good.
Talia Franks: Okay, we are officially on another tangent. So, let’s move this along and get to –
Lucia Kelly: Grading and ranking! So … Production …
Talia Franks: I think five out of five on everything.
Joy Piedmont: Is that your final answer?
Lucia Kelly: Well, we always know, acting always gets a five out of five, apart from –
Talia Franks: It does not always gets a five out of five! –
Lucia Kelly: Which is why I said apart from when it’s atrocious, like in The Christmas Invasion, when choices are being made.
Lucia Kelly: So we have the five out of five for acting.
Lucia Kelly: Five out of five for rewatchability, absolutely. (Joy mhmms) Writing?
Joy Piedmont: A three and a half? Four?
Lucia Kelly: Three and a half?
Talia Franks: Like a four?
Lucia Kelly: Three and a half. Four.
Lucia Kelly: Production?
Lucia Kelly: I actually really liked the production of this episode. It also uses more sets than normal, which I really liked. So often Doctor Who will be confined to maybe three or four sets and they’ll just reuse them a lot. Whereas this one we’ve got the school, we’ve got the TARDIS, we’ve got the cafe, they use outside a lot more. There’s a lot more outside filming. Um …
Talia Franks: I though that last scene was beautiful.
Lucia Kelly: Mmmmm.
Talia Franks: Really noticed that last scene with Sarah Jane’s goodbye. I think that’s a lot of why I love it so much. Obviously the content is nice, but also it’s just beautiful to watch.
Joy Piedmont: Yeah.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Ah. The science.
Talia Franks: I think the science should get a five!
Lucia Kelly: Okay. The sci – Yeah?!
Talia Franks: The science is fine.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. It makes – It’s good. It makes sense. I’m so happy. So, Joy for context, science – I recognize it’s a sci fi show, okay?
Joy Piedmont: You just want the internal logic to make sense.
Lucia Kelly: Exactly. It’s about internal logic.
Joy Piedmont: I can say you could give it a five out of five. I mean, I feel like Toby Woodhouse knows what – I might ding it a little bit, like maybe a four and a half out of five only because I think that the data and the computery stuff doesn’t make as much sense as The the Krillitanes as a creature.
Talia Franks: I really liked the idea of the Skasis Paradigm, actually, and the idea that the code needed to be the reason I love it so much is the idea that in order to crack the code, you needed the imagination and the ingenuity of of someone who was who was like, who is a child and who was younger and has that like, sort of, That sort of like imaginative spark that, especially that line about how they’re not just using like how they’re about how they’re using their souls to crack the code.
Talia Franks: I thought that was a really I just really liked that idea because I think it, it, the idea that it plays on how, like the brain, when it’s younger has more potential like the idea of using, of using the potential of brains as computers, particularly young brains, as unethical as it is, makes sense scientifically,
Joy Piedmont: Hmmm
Talia Franks: I wanna,
Lucia Kelly: I also
Talia Franks: say it’s very unethical. They shouldn’t be doing it, but it makes sense. There’s a logic to it that I appreciate,
Lucia Kelly: I really like it as well for the double reason first is that it too often there’s this sort of separation between science and art and like science and imagination and science, and like love for the subject or creative thinking.
Lucia Kelly: And so much of science, like actual, like on the grounds, breaking news science, like people who are actually pushing science to its limits to making the breakthroughs are doing that because they’re thinking creatively and they’re thinking with passion and they’re thinking with love about whatever their particular favorite sort of element of science is.
Lucia Kelly: And so it really like it highlights that aspect, which I really liked. And there was another, oh yeah. And the second aspect I liked, Joy, you brought up the computer thing, except like, doesn’t that just bring you, doesn’t it bring you delight? Doesn’t it spark, joy to think of one of those dinner ladies sitting in front of the computer, making the program, (Joy yelps with laughter) they had to make it though. (Lucia laughs)
Lucia Kelly: Doesn’t that spark a little joy?
Joy Piedmont: I mean, it is certainly hilarious and like the graphics are very, very amusing. They,
Talia Franks: I also found really amusing the fake typing.
Joy Piedmont: Yeah. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Also my all time favorite, not me. I already said my favorite moment, but my favorite moment related to the technology was how Mickey just pulls the plug.
Joy Piedmont: Yeah.
Talia Franks: He fixed everything by unplugging something from the socket.
Lucia Kelly: So drum roll.
Talia Franks: Ninety-six!
Lucia Kelly: This is exciting news, 96! It got an A+!
Joy Piedmont: Woo-hoo! (Joy claps) Well deserved richly, richly deserved.
Joy Piedmont: Hmm.
Lucia Kelly: Beautiful.
Joy Piedmont: Such a good story.
Lucia Kelly: So thank you so much Joy, for coming and guesting with us and having such a fun. It’s been such a, it has been a joy to have you here. (Lucia and Joy laugh)
Joy Piedmont: Thank you. I, I really, I loved watching this again because I have not done a ton of rewatching of Doctor Who during the pandemic, unless it was for podcast homework. For lots of various reasons. And I certainly have not revisited series two in quite some time. So it was really nice to be reminded that there’s a lot of really great stuff in, in, in these older pockets of the modern show. So it was a real pleasure to watch.
Talia Franks: Yeah And
Lucia Kelly: Absolutely
Talia Franks: And I’m so glad that you joined us.
Lucia Kelly: Thank you so much. And you’re always welcome back.
Joy Piedmont: Thank you.
Talia Franks: Thank you. Thank you.
Lucia Kelly: Thank you for listening to The Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast.
Talia Franks: We hope you enjoyed this adventure with us through space and time.
Lucia Kelly: You can find us elsewhere on the internet on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram @WibblyPod. Follow us for more Wibbly Wobbly content.
Talia Franks: You can find out more information about us and our content on wibblywobblytimeywimey.net And full transcripts for episodes at wibblywobblytimeywimey.net/transcripts
Lucia Kelly: If you’d like to get in touch with us, you can send us email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talia Franks: Please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and other platforms as it helps other people find us and our content.
Lucia Kelly: That’s all for now, catch you in the time vortex!
Joy Piedmont is a school librarian and writer. She is co-host and co-producer of the Doctor Who podcasts Reality Bomb and Five Years Rapid. Joy also co-chairs TARDIS Talks at Gallifrey One and is a founding member of the Fan Organizer Coalition.